In this opinion piece, Kate Duckworth, marketing and brand manager at Buzinga App Development, explores the importance of customer experience for businesses and provides tips on how to prioritise customer service.
A bad customer experience can have an inescapable ripple effect that could bring down a business’ reputation, sales, and staff engagement. All it takes is one sour customer to share their experience on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, and it could explode into thousands rallying to bring down a brand they loved until merely seconds earlier.
While there are countless ways to combat negative feedback, the most effective tactic is to prevent the bad customer experience from occurring at all. This starts by prioritising customer service throughout the organisation.
Businesses need to get their (customer service) act together
With Forrester predicting one-third of companies in the B2C space “will begin changing their business structure to get closer to the customer and effectively compete on the basis of experiences”, we should see the majority of companies shifting their business goals and sales targets to focus on customer service.
However, while there are a select few, such as ANZ, paving the way in this area, this still is nowhere near the norm, and much more needs to be done before customer service is prioritised to the point where it can actually impact a business’ bottom line.
Where to start
It’s one thing to say you’ll invest in customer service, but it’s another thing to actually do it.
Here are a few ways to ensure your business walks the walk in prioritising customer service:
- Change your sales incentive schemes to prioritise customer service
- Invest in researching customers’ needs and wants to direct product development and design
- Provide channels for constant and in-depth customer feedback, and empower teams to act quickly on addressing opportunities for improvement
- Appoint a Customer Service Officer (CSO) and/or Customer Experience Officer, whose key responsibility is to optimise customer service and customer experience by liaising with all teams and departments throughout the organisation
- Do an internal review of all customer touchpoints, and assign a team made up of marketing, sales, operations, and the CSO to address how they can be improved
- Develop measurable KPIs for sales, marketing and operations to measure their impact on customer service
Tackling the gamut of ‘customer experience’ while protecting your business from any chance of negative feedback is an overwhelming challenge which can’t be solved overnight. While this should be a priority for companies and included in business strategies, it is more important to put in preventative measures to ensure negative experiences don’t have an opportunity to get out of hand.